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Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald , Published March 14 2012

The Eatbeat with Marilyn Hagerty: Authentic Asian cuisine sets Drunken Noodle apart

GRAND FORKS - Since its opening in mid-February, the Drunken Noodle in East Grand Forks has been welcoming customers curious to see what the new place is like.

Located in the building formerly occupied by Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill, the Drunken Noodle joins Whitey’s, Mike’s Pizza, the Blue Moose and the Boardwalk Bar and Grill on “Restaurant Row.”

The owners, Keng Dechawuth and Dave Scheer, also operate Little Bangkok, which opened two years ago at 302 DeMers Ave. in East Grand Forks. And they run two Drunken Noodle restaurants in Fargo, which they said are more like small, late-night places than their new restaurant.

They have been moving cautiously to handle the heavy opening traffic but have plans to add a brunch — called dim sum — to the Sunday menu. The traditional Chinese meal offers choices of foods at the tables.

My initial visit to the Drunken Noodle was pleasant. I went for a late lunch, as I enjoy doing, and gave my name to the server at the desk near the entry. There were maybe a dozen other people waiting, but the wait was short.

The menu is straightforward and easy to read. Small plates — or appetizers — include nine choices. And with a red flame marker, the restaurant menu warns customers that the spicy Crystal Noodle Salad is hot-hot.

Then, there are Japanese-inspired Teppanyaki platters of rib-eye steak, mixed seafood, tiger prawns and scallops. They range in price from $12 to $15, and I told myself this would be nice another time.

There are a dozen choices under the heading “exotic.” Pictures on the menu help diners understand what each dish looks like. I find this helpful.

When I moved on to the Drunken Noodle Classics, I chose the Drunken Noodles, in spite of its little hot flame warning.

Drunken Noodles, with wide and flat noodles, was hot, but not so much so that my cola drink couldn’t cool it. There also was a nice choice of vegetables.

The serving was sensible — not too much but just enough. I used the chopsticks — as best I could. I find that they make eating Asian food more enjoyable.

For people who haven’t traveled to Asia, the Drunken Noodle is a nice experience. It also attracts diners who like to find something different.

My server, Chalyse Wynne, was helpful and friendly. She helps make dining out a pleasant experience.

The restaurant is attractive with soft lighting. Large windows give a full view of the river. A lounge in the corner offers limited seating along with a dozen seats at the bar.

The restaurant seems to appeal to college-age patrons as well as the more mature diners.